ARCHIVE Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections

For over 100 years Pine Mountain has been focused on enriching lives and connecting people through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.

An in-depth digital look at the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archive. The collections include photographs, documents, biographies, books, objects, videos and other materials that describe the community and the rural settlement school from its beginnings in 1913 to the present day. Many documents are available in FULL TEXT. Work is ongoing.

ABOUT the Archive



Now over 2,000 pages of local and regional history and biographies.


The Vision of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archive is to provide a voice that will encourage transformations in our relationship to the cultures of the Appalachian region through access to a unique and extensive body of material. Pine Mountain is one of the earliest rural settlement schools within the Appalachian region. The Rural Settlement School Movement and its impact on the people of Eastern Kentucky and the Southern Appalachians is a story that has sometimes been misrepresented, romanticized, or only partially understood and described. We envision an accessible, deep, vibrant and vital resource that will encourage exploration and collaborative dialogue about the hidden and sometimes contested history of rural settlement schools within the Appalachian dialog. We envision a broader dissemination of research materials across all public, private, and federal sectors interested in Appalachian cultures and lives. more …


The Pine Mountain Settlement School archival mission supports the institutional mission and its strategic planning goals. Our institutional mission continues a long 108-year history of evolving educational and social enrichment programs centered on the local community and beyond. Once a boarding school with a progressive educational curriculum, Pine Mountain Settlement School’s recent educational programming has moved away from residential education to multi-faceted offerings of short-term environmental, cultural, medical, social, agricultural, and arts and crafts programs and workshops for all ages. But, the archive has not moved away from, nor will it move away from, a commitment to Pine Mountain as place and people. more …

To access the Archive go to INDEX TO COLLECTIONS (also at the top of the page) or use the Search Box.


To learn more about the School’s current workshops, community interaction, annual events, and other activities, go to PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL MAIN PAGE. There, you will find information about lodging, donating to the School and visiting the campus.

We follow COVID guidelines. Consult the following for current information regarding Kentucky COVID regulations and guidelines:



ARCHIVE Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections


“Doctor’s Directions in case of typhoid. If a case of typhoid should break out this side of the mountain, everyone in the school, except those who have been inoculated in the past year, must be inoculated at once. …”

(Memorandum to PMSS staff, 1922.)

Photo: DR. GRACE HUSE with kittens in her pockets and on her shoulders. PMSS’s Big Laurel Medical Settlement physician, 1919-1924. See her BIOGRAPHY.

ARCHIVE Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections

Correspondence (Part 1)

“I didn’t intend to beg when I wrote that letter to you. When I do intend to beg I will always hang up a flag so you will know ahead. ….You are so capable about getting things done promptly and cheaply for us that it is a great temptation to turn over requests to you. …”

Director Ethel Zande then “hangs up the flag” and tells him of PMSS’s needs.

(Zande to Martin, March 21,1927)

DARWIN D. MARTIN, Board member (1920-1933), and executive of the Larkin Company in Buffalo, NY. See his BIOGRAPHY and CORRESPONDENCE Guide. [Photo: Wikipedia Free Media Repository]


WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students, 1928-1929

“[Rose] has done so well…. And then she is a girl of fine character and spirit and is such a fine influence with the other girls. You see, she is doing as you are doing, helping others to be better just as you do…..” [May 20, 1929. Excerpt from Katherine Pettit’s letter to W.Taylor Brown.]

See also: WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Correspondence


JULY 2021

7/28 ADMIN GENERAL Correspondence External 1944 S-W: Images and a list of contents of 84 letters to and from William Webb (Acting Director), H.R.S. Benjamin (Director), and other PMSS staff during the WWII year, 1944. The subjects of the letters vary, but primarily involve inquiries about staff vacancies, visiting PMSS, and donations. The letters are in alphabetical order by the external correspondents’ last names, S to W.

7/18 JAMES STILL Visitor – Biography of award-winning James Still, an Appalachian poet and novelist who lived in Knott County, Kentucky, most of his life and often visited Pine Mountain Settlement School.

7/11 DR. GRACE HUSE Correspondence – Images and a list of contents of a PMSS physician’s letters and memoranda with School staff, dated October 1921 – November 1924. Dr. Huse served as a physician at PMSS’s Medical Settlement at Big Laurel from 1919 until 1924. See also Dr. Huse’s biography here.

7/12 DARWIN D. MARTIN 1927 Correspondence 2 – (Part 2) Images and a list contents of a PMSS trustee’s letters with co-directors Ethel de Long Zande, Katherine Pettit, and other staff, August through December, regarding the School’s orders from his company and revealing the many ways he assisted the School. See Darwin Martin’s biography here and links to additional letters in other years here.
7/10 DARWIN D. MARTIN 1927 Correspondence 1 – (Part 1) Images and a list contents of a PMSS trustee’s letters with office secretary, Evelyn Wells, & co-directors Ethel Zande and Katherine Pettit, January through August.
7/8 DARWIN D. MARTIN 1925 Correspondence – Images and a list contents of letters between Darwin D. Martin and Ethel de Long Zande.
7/6 DARWIN D. MARTIN 1924 Correspondence – Images and a list of contents of letters to and from Darwin D. Martin, Ethel de Long Zande, and Evelyn K. Wells.

7/5 WILLIAM CREECH The Death of – Images and full transcriptions of two letters written by Ethel Zande & Evelyn Wells, reflecting the death in May 1918 of William Creech, one of Pine Mountain School’s founders.

7/5 FARM Community Fair Day 1998 – Photographs of the annual Fall Fair Day in August 1998. Images of community members, exhibits, garden produce, canning, quilts, pottery, and more.

7/3 FARM Community Fair Day 1999 – Photographs of the annual Fall Fair Day with exhibits, farm produce, quilts, canned goods and more.

7/2 DARWIN D. MARTIN Correspondence 1928 – Images, contents, and full transcriptions of the letters of a PMSS Trustee and generous contributor to and consultant for the School.

7/2 EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing TRANSCRIPTIONS IIIE – Full transcriptions of letters, narratives, and poetry written by students, staff, and community members in 1921-1950 (part 3). See images of these writings at EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing IIIE.

JUNE 2021

6/30 EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing: TRANSCRIPTIONS II – Full transcriptions of letters written by students, staff, and community members in 1924-1925 (Part 2). See images of these writings at EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing II.

6/24 EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing: TRANSCRIPTIONS I – Full transcriptions of letters and narratives written by students, staff, and community members in 1915-1945 (Part I). See images of these writings at EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing I.

6/21 EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing (13) Henry C. Creech – Full transcription and images of a letter from a longtime supporter & neighbor of PMSS to teacher Marguerite Butler, 1924. Henry Creech was a son of the original donors of land to the School, William and Sally Creech. See Henry Creech’s biography here.

6/20 EDUCATION Children’s Writing (01) Brit Wilder – Full transcription and image of a letter from Brit Wilder to his PMSS teacher, Margaret Motter, 1928. Brit later served as head of PMSS maintenance and farm for many years. See also: Brit Wilder’s biography here.

6/20 EDUCATION Children’s Writing (06, 44) Becky May Huff – Full transcription and images of two handwritten letters from a PMSS student (and later, PMSS weaving and folk dance teacher) to her teacher, Miss Marguerite Butler (1918), and the School’s co-director, Ethel de Long Zande (1927). See also: Becky May Huff’s biography here.

6/17 FARM Agricultural Correspondence 1919-1920 – Images and a list of contents of letters between the School’s co-founders and applicants for an assistant farm superintendent position at PMSS in 1919 and 1920. The correspondence provides a look at both the hiring practices of the School and the dairy farm during the first decade of the School’s existence. See also: FARM Agricultural Correspondence 1918.

6/14 GLADYS HILL Correspondence PART 2 – Letters dated 1940-1952 of Gladys Hill, PMSS housemother & teacher, 1929–1952, & board member, 1949–1952. She taught, managed, and wrote about the Co-operative Program at PMSS. See also GLADYS HILL Correspondence Part 1 (1929-1939) and her biography.

6/12 MAUDE HOLBROOK Correspondence – Newly scanned images of documents and a list of their contents were added to this page. Maude was a PMSS student from 1934 to 1936 and housemother and dietitian from 1936 until 1940. See Maude Holbrook’s biography here.

6/7 CHARLSIE VAUGHN Correspondence 1939-1946 – A PMSS student’s application to PMSS and her student self-evaluation letters to her family. See also CHARLSIE VAUGHN Correspondence 1947 concerning her return to PMSS to work as an Infirmary nurse. Charlsie Vaughn’s biography is located here.

6/5 JOHN A. SPELMAN III Gouache Conservation Project A conservation project to address the issues found in the artist’s works of art on paper at the School.

6/4 WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students – A biography of siblings who came to PMSS in 1928 with the help of their half-brother, W.Taylor Brown, a teacher in rural Kentucky schools.
6/4 WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Correspondence – Images & list of contents of letters concerning two siblings who attended PMSS in 1928-1929.
W. TAYLOR BROWN Narrative – A half-brother who assisted William and Rose Brown to attend PMSS describes his experiences teaching at a rural school in Harlan Co., 1922-1926.



Comments and feedback regarding the material on this website or on the institutional history are welcomed. Comments directly on the website are not enabled.

Please contact or (606) 558-3571 with your inquiries and comments. We welcome your identification of people and activities on our site and, particularly, corrections to the record. Please see OUR PRIVACY POLICY and contact our office if you believe we have violated your rights to privacy.



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USE AGREEMENT Non-Commercial


Many of the texts included in this site have been automatically generated using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. In some cases, these texts have not been manually reviewed or corrected.

OCR enables searching of large quantities of full-text data, but it is not 100% accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the print quality of the original publication and its condition at the time of microfilming. Publications with poor quality paper, small print, mixed fonts, multiple column layouts or damaged pages may have poor OCR accuracy.


Any PUBLIC use of material must properly cite Pine Mountain Settlement School in the following manner:

 “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. [date], Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. [date accessed]


The manuscript collections and archival records in the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections may contain sensitive and/or confidential information derived from historical archives that may be protected under federal and state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers who wish to publish and users who may share material from the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections are advised by this notice that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in some collections within the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. may be a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person for which Pine Mountain Settlement School assumes no responsibility.

If you believe that your privacy rights have been invaded please notify the following.


See INDEX TO COLLECTIONS for an overview of collections and series.